Dads Play Important Role in Helping Young Daughters Overcome Loneliness

Photography: Victoria Gloria

By Hannah Schenker

We all know how important dads are in the lives of our children, especially when they develop a nice close bond (skin-to-skin with your baby is great for this, dads!). This close bond has now been shown to be protective of young girls who experience loneliness – helping them to overcome it more quickly as they grow older. That’s right – it’s the dad-daughter bond; mum you get to sit this one out.

The study, published online in the Journal of Family Psychology, found that girls tended to report less loneliness as they went from first grade to fifth grade (first grade being the first year at primary school). That makes sense – as girls go through school they start to gain confidence and make friends outside their family, so tend to feel less lonely over time, right? But the researchers discovered that loneliness declined more quickly among girls who had a closer relationship with their fathers.

“The bond between fathers and daughters is very important,” said Xin Feng, co-author of the study and associate professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University. “We found that closeness between fathers and daughters tends to protect daughters and help them transition out of loneliness faster.”

This beneficial outcome was not affected by whether there was conflict at home, as long as there was also good communication and overall a good relationship. So use those gentle parenting techniques, dads.

Young boys were not affected the same way. The study could not definitively say why, but they suggest it could be due to the way boys are socialized in families in our society, saying “parents don’t socialize boys to have particularly close relationships and put less emphasis on them maintaining close ties”. Which is rather interesting in itself, don’t you think?

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